Finding a Partner for Your Conservation Easement

Most conservation easements are held by government agencies or land trusts. Each type of partner has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Government agencies. A government agency partner may be any unit of the local, state or federal government, such as a municipality or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This type of partner often has more stability and a well-established conservation easement monitoring and landowner assistance program. It may stand a better chance of meeting its obligations as easement holder well into the future.

Land trusts. Land trusts are nonprofit organizations, funded by public agencies and private donors, that are dedicated to conservation and work to protect land primarily through easements and land purchases. They can be local, regional, statewide or national in their scope—some examples are the Nature Conservancy, The American Farmland Trust, or smaller, more locally-focused trusts like the Minnesota Land Trust. Land trusts often enjoy the advantages of prompt response time and fewer regulatory restraints, which means they can be more flexible and creative in their conservation options.

When considering potential partners, the most important thing is that you trust your partner and know they have the stability and resources to enforce the easement for the long haul. Sometimes, government agencies and land trusts work together to monitor and enforce conservation easements, and that can provide extra stability and support.

The journey you and your conservation easement partner take together can be a rewarding and positive one. But it isn’t the only way to protect your property for future generations. There are other options for conservation.

Next: Alternatives for Conservation 

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